New feature: Stink bombing the beauty pagaent
Jess McCabe // 28 April 2009
Protesters from Smash Miss Contest sneaked into the Miss London University beauty contest, releasing stinkbombs and distributing letters to the audience. Sarah Levack reports
The final of the Miss University London Beauty Contest took place on Tuesday 10 March. We disguised ourselves in high heels and revealing dresses to infiltrate the event, a pageant of sexism and delusion in an apparently “post feminist” Britain. Could we pass as the sort of people who would pay to go and watch young female students parading in front of whooping crowds of drunks, to be judged on how they filled out an evening gown? Although we were prepared to step outside our comfort zone, we were shocked by the atmosphere inside the club. Aggression was in the air, and we were leered over and touched-up as we negotiated the crowds.
We left fake intelligence tests, stink bombs and set off personal alarms as the competition got underway. The foul smell emanating from all around was our way to demonstrate the reality of the casual and pervasive sexism that we experience in our daily lives, and which we saw manifested so vividly in the beauty pageant. It stinks. And we wanted the people there to feel it.
Just before they announced the winner, we invaded the stage, and threw out the open letters that we had written to the audience members and to the contestants on stage, explaining why we were there.